Web Inspirations

Web Inspirations for Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

Oct 31, 2008

Gifted for Something?

I heard of a woman who operated a daycare for children from her home. As she transported children in her car one day, a fire truck zoomed by. The kids were thrilled to see a Dalmatian on the front seat, just like in the old-time stories.

They began a conversation about the duties of a "fire dog." One child suggested that they use the dog to keep the crowds back. Another said the Dalmatian is just for good luck. But young Jamie brought the argument to an end when he said, "They use the dog to find the hydrant!"

He reminds us that we all have useful abilities, if sniffing out fire hydrants is a useful ability. Some of our skills are apparent. Some are hidden. Some probably haven't even been discovered. Some can be improved with work -- lots of mine fall into this category.

Madame Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (she won two), said this about giftedness: "Life is not easy for any of us, but what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."

I like that. "We must believe that we are gifted for something." Do you believe you are gifted for something? Do you know what that "something" is?

American football's William Floyd probably thought his athletic ability was his greatest gift. But then he injured his knee halfway through his 1995 season with the San Francisco Forty-Niners. The talented athlete was out for the rest of the season. It was then that he found a gift he may not have known he possessed.

William Floyd still wanted to contribute and he did NOT want his self pity to spill over to the rest of the team. So he stood on the sidelines at every workout and in every game and encouraged his teammates on. He shouted and cajoled; he motivated and consoled; he became a dominating presence and a source of great inspiration for his team. He had a remarkable ability for bringing out the best in others.

At the end of the year, his teammates voted him the player "who best exemplifies inspirational and courageous play." As much as they needed him on the field, they discovered how much they needed him on the sidelines, urging them to do and to be their best. I wonder if his newly-found life skill, his gift of positive motivation, could prove more useful than even his athletic ability?

What if we believed we were "gifted for something"? What difference would that make?

And what if we believed we should do something about it? What difference would that make? What difference COULD that make?

I think a lot of life is about finding that out.

-- Steve Goodier

Oct 28, 2008

What I've Learned

Here is one brief summary of a life's learnings:

Age 5: I learned that things are easier when someone is holding your hand.

Age 10: I learned to never blow in a cat's ear.

Age 15: I learned that although it's hard to admit it, I'm secretly glad my parents are strict with me.

Age 20: I learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up.

Age 25: I learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.

Age 30: I learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don't know how to show it.

Age 35: I learned that if I want to do something positive for my children, I should work to improve my marriage.

Age 40: I learned that the greater people's sense of guilt, the greater their need to blame others.

Age 45: I learned that I can never allow the disappointments of life to steal my enthusiasm.

Age 50: I learned that I can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

Age 55: I learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet full of pills.

Age 60: I learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

Age 65: I learned that I shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. I need to be able to throw something back.

Age 70: I learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die.

Age 75: I learned that children and grandparents are natural allies.

Age 80: I learned that even suffering has its gifts.

Age 85: I learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually make the right decision.

Age 90: I learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

Isn't it true? If we're not learning, we're not improving. If we're not improving, we're not growing. And if we're not growing, we're not living.

Some people worry about dying. I am more concerned with living - as well and as fully as possible.

Learn - improve - grow - live. Learn as if you might live forever and you'll live as if you might die tomorrow.

-- Steve Goodier

Oct 27, 2008

The Law of Attraction

There is a fundamental law of attraction in the universe that guides people’s lives and is the underlying power behind all things.

This law was expressed by Napoleon Hill when he said, “We become what we think about.” This profound truth has been stated in many different languages and cultures throughout history. In the second century of the Common Era, the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius said “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” This idea has been developed over time and has now become a central tenet in many spiritual traditions.

Its truth has spread to many people and has more recently been expressed in a popular quote:

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

—UNKNOWN

Earl Nightengale has referred to the law of attraction as “The Strangest Secret”. When asked by his readers, “Why do you call it the strangest secret?” he explains that it is a secret that is really “no secret” at all. It’s not because the law of attraction is hidden from view that makes it so strange.

In fact, it isn’t hidden. It’s extremely obvious and yet nobody seems to be aware of it. “We become what we think about” is no “secret” at all and that’s what makes it so strange.

Keeping a positive attitude certainly isn’t an easy thing to do. Each day, people will tell themselves many negative things. These negative ideas will sometimes be expressed in the light of day by a seemingly happy person and yet, when we get to know the people who are thinking these ideas, we may find that they are actually quite depressed and afraid of many things. People make a lot of decisions based on these negative feelings and it isn’t always apparent how much it is affecting their lives. It will often appear to be quite bad when you take a closer look inside.

The negative tendencies that people pursue in their lives often help to confirm the initial fears that they have. They lose their jobs, their friends and their closest loved ones to problems that seem beyond their control. This seems impossible to change and yet, the law of attraction tells us something different.

People’s thoughts and decisions often promote the very kind of negative evidence that they initially set out to prove. They are the very cause of their own problems! The negative ideas that people project often function in a similar manner as a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. By focusing on the negative, the negative comes to pass. The law of attraction tells us that, whatever we give our attention to becomes our point of attraction. It becomes the thing that we magnetize into our lives. This is even true for the things we try to separate ourselves from or fight against because we find that we are still giving these “negative” things our constant attention.

Take an example. Someone decides that the worst thing in the world would be for their loved one to leave them. They worry about this day and night. It is their worst fear and they can’t get it out of their mind. As they focus on this fear, they find that they simply cannot trust the person they are with. They are constantly second guessing this person and accusing them of the fears they hold inside. Instead of showing them love and affection, they are actually driving this person away.

Getting over our fears and negative emotions can be quite a challenge when we are applying the law of attraction in our lives. In order to be successful and attract what is positive, it is helpful to see the challenges ahead. If we know what to expect in terms of the law of attraction, we will be prepared to attract only the things that are truly best for us in our lives. In this way, we will avoid the fears and confusions and find the love and understanding along the way.

I first read this story on Kenny's blog and it moved me to tears.

If you think this only happens on TV dramas, think again ....

人生如戏,戏如人生

Life is like a show, only that the show will go on until we leave this world.

I hope this will touch your heart and cherish your loved ones and relationships.

Read on ....



Part 1

A fatal misunderstanding and the person who love me the most in this world is gone forever.

This is a true story, taken from "Family" (dictated by LD, edited by LSX, translated by SaFe).

Cruel misunderstandings, one after another, disrupted the blissful footsteps to our family. Our original intent of having Mother enjoy some quiet and peaceful moments in her remaining years with us went terribly wrong as destiny's secret is finally revealed at a price, everything became too late.

Just two years after our marriage, hubby brought up the idea of asking Mother to move from the rural hometown and spend her remaining years with us. Hubby's father passed away while he was still very young. Mother endured much hardship and struggled all on her own to provide for him, see him through to a university degree. You could say that she suffered a great deal and did everything you could expect of a woman to bring hubby to where he is today.

I immediately agreed and started packing the spare room, which has a balcony facing the South to let her enjoy the sunshine and plant some greenery. Hubby stood in the bright room, and suddenly just picked me up and started spinning round and round. As I begged him to put me down, he said: "Lets go fetch mother."

Hubby is tall and big sized and I love to rest on his chest and enjoy the feeling that he could pick me up at any moment and put the tiny me into his pockets. Whenever we have an argument and both refuses to back down, he would pick me up and spin me over his head continuously until I surrender and beg for mercy. I became addicted to this kind of panic-joy feeling.

Mother brought along her country-side habits and lifestyle with her. For example; I am so used to buying flowers to decorate the living room, she could not stand it and would comment: "I do not know how you young people spend your money, why do you buy flowers for? You also can't eat the flowers!" I smiled and said: "Mum, with flowers in the house, our mood will also become better." Mother continues to grumble away, and hubby smiled: "Mum, this is a city-people's habit; slowly you will get used to it."

Mother stopped saying anything. But every time thereafter, whenever I came home with flowers, she would ask me how much it costs. I told her and she would shake her head and express displeasure. Sometimes, when I come home with lots of shopping bags, she would ask each and every item how much they cost, I would tell her honestly and she would get even more upset about it.

Hubby playfully pinched my nose and said: "You little fool, just don't tell her the full price of everything would solve it."

There begins the friction to our otherwise happy lifestyle.

Mother hates it most when hubby wake up early to prepare the breakfast. In her view, how could the man of the house cook for the wife? At the breakfast table, mother facial expression is always like the dark clouds before a thunderstorm and I would pretend not to notice. She would use her chopsticks and make a lot of noise with it as her silent protest. As I am a dance teacher in the Children's Palace and is exhausted from a long day of dancing around, I do not wish to give up the luxury of that additional few minutes in the comfort of my bed and hence I turned a deaf ear to all the protest mother makes.

From time to time, mother would help out with some housework, but soon her help created additional work for me. For example, she would keep all kinds of plastic bags accumulating them so that she sell them later on, and that resulted in our house being filled with all the trash bags; she would scrimp on dish washing detergent when helping to wash the dishes and so as not to hurt her feelings, I would quietly wash they again.

One day, late at night, mother saw me quietly washing the dishes, and "Bam" she slams her bedroom door and cried very loudly in her room. Hubby was placed in a difficult position, and after that, he did not speak to me for that entire night. I pretended to be a spoilt child, tried acting cute, but he totally ignored me. I got mad and asked him: "What did I do wrong?"

Hubby stared at me and said: "Can't you just give in to her once? We couldn't possibly die eating from a bowl however unclean it is, right?"

After that incident, for a long period of time, mother did not speak to me and you can feel that there is a very awkward feeling hanging in the house. During that period of cold war, hubby was caught in a dilemma as to who to
please.

In order to stop her son from having to prepare breakfast, mother took on the "all important" task of preparing breakfast without any prompting. At the breakfast table, mother would look at hubby happily eating his breakfast and cast that reprimanding stare at me for having failed to perform my duty as a wife. To avoid the embarrassing breakfast situation, I resorted to buying my own breakfast on my way to work.

That night, while in bed, hubby was a little upset and asked me: "LD, is it because you think that mum's cooking is not clean, that's why you chose not to eat at home?" He then turned his back on me and left me alone in tears as feeling of unfairness overwhelmed me. After some time, hubby sighed: "LD, just for me, can you have breakfast at home?" I am left with no choice but to return to the breakfast table.

The next morning, I was having porridge prepared by mother and I felt a sudden churn in my stomach and everything inside seem to be rushing up my throat. I tried to suppress the urge to throw up but I couldn't. I threw down the bowl and rushed into the washroom and vomited everything out. Just as I was catching my breath, I saw mother crying and grumbling very loudly in her dialect, hubby was standing at the washroom doorway staring at me, with fire burning in his eyes. I opened my mouth but no words came out of it, I really didn't mean it.

We had our very first big fight that day. Mother took a look at us, then stood up and slowly made her way out of the house. Hubby gave me a final stare in the eye and followed mother down the stairs.

For three days, hubby did not return home, not even a phone call. I was so furious, since mother arrived; I had been trying my best and putting up with her, what else do you want me to do? For no reason, I keep having the feeling to throw up and I simply have no appetite for food, coupled with all the events happening at home, I was at the low point in my life.

Finally, a colleague said: "LD, you look terrible, you should go and see a doctor."

The doctor confirmed that I am pregnant. Now it became clear to me why I threw up that fateful morning, a sense of sadness floated through that otherwise happy news. Why didn't hubby, and mother who had been through this before, thought of the possibility of this being the reason that day? At the hospital entrance, I saw my hubby standing there. It had only been three days, but he looked haggard. I had wanted to turn and leave, but one look at him and my heart soften, I couldn't resist and called out to him. He followed my voice and finally found me but he pretended that he doesn't know me; he has that disgusted look in his eyes that cut right through my heart.

I told myself not to look at him anymore, and hail a cab. At that moment, I have such a strong urge inside me to shout to my hubby: "Darling, I am having your baby!" and have him lift me up and spin me round in circles of joy. What I wanted didn't happen and as I sat in the cab, my tears started rolling down. Why? Why our love couldn't even withstand the test of one fight? Back home, I lay on the bed thinking about my hubby, and the disgusted look in his eyes. I cried and wet the corner of the blanket.

That night, sound of the drawers opening woke me up. I switched on the lights and I saw hubby with tears rolling down his face. He was removing the money. I stared at him in silence; he ignored me, took the bank deposit book and some money and left the house. Maybe he really intends to leave me for good. What a rational man, so clear cut in love and money matters. I gave a few dried laugh and tears starting streaming down again.

The next day, I did not go to work. I wanted to clear this out and have a good talk with hubby. I reached his office and his secretary gave me a weird look and said: "Mr Tan's mother had a traffic accident and is now in the hospital." I stood there in shock. I rushed to the hospital and by the time I found hubby, mother had already passed away. Hubby did not look at me, his face was expressionless.

I looked at mother's pale white and thin face and I couldn't control the tears in my eyes. My god, how could this happen?

Throughout the funeral, hubby did say a single word to me, with only the occasional disgusted stare at me. I only managed to find out brief facts about the accident from other people. That day, after mother left the house, she walked in a daze toward the bus stop, apparently intending to go back to her old house back in the country-side. As hubby ran after her, she tried to walk faster and as she tried to cross the street, a public bus came and hit her...

I finally understood how much hubby must hate me, if I had not thrown up that morning, if we had not quarreled, if...

In his heart, I am indirectly the killer of his mother.


Part 2

Hubby moved into mother's room and came home every night with a strong liquor smell on him. And me, I am buried under the guilt and self pity and could hardly breathe. I wanted to explain to him, tell him that we are going to have our baby soon, but each time, I saw the dead look in his eyes, all the words I have at the brink of my mouth just fell back in. I had rather he hit me real hard or give me a big and thorough scolding though none of these events happening had been my fault at all.

Many days of suffocating silence went by and as the days went by, hubby came home later and later. The deadlock between us continues, we were living together like strangers who don't know each other. I am like the dead knot in his heart.

One day, I passed by a western restaurant, looking into the glass window, I saw hubby and a girl sitting facing each other and he very lightly brushed her hair for her, I understood what it meant. After recovering from that moment of shock, I entered the restaurant, stood in front of my hubby and stared hard at him, not a tear in my eyes. I have nothing to say to him, and there is no need to say anything.

The girl looked at me, looks at hubby, stands up and wanted to go, hubby stretched out his hand and stopped her. He stared back at me, challenging me. I can only hear my slow heart beat, beating, one by one as if at the brink of death. I eventually backed down, if I had stood that any longer, I will collapse together with the baby inside me.

That night, he did not come home, he had chosen to use that as a way to indicate to me: Following mother's death, so did our love for each other. He did not come home anymore after that. Sometimes, when I returned home from work, I can tell that the cupboard had been touched - he had returned to take some of his stuff.

I no longer wish to call him; the initial desire to explain everything to him vanished.

I lived alone; I go for my medical checkups alone, my heart breaks again and again every time I see a guy carefully helping his wife through the physical examination. My office colleagues hinted to me to consider aborting the baby, I told them No, I will not. I insisted on having to this baby, perhaps it is my way of repaying mother for causing her death.

One day, I came home and I saw hubby sitting in the living room. The whole house was filled with cigarette smoke. On the coffee table, there was this piece of paper. I know what it is all about without even looking at it.

In the two months plus of living alone, I have gradually learned to find peace within myself. I looked at him, removed my hat and said: "You wait a while, I will sign." He looked at me, mixed feelings in his eyes, just like mine. As I hang up my coat, I keep repeating to myself "You cannot cry, you cannot cry..." my eyes hurt terribly, but I refused to let tears come out from there.

After I hung up my coat, hubby's eyes stared fixed at my bulging tummy. I smiled, walked over to the coffee table and pull the paper towards me. Without even looking at what it says, I signed my name on it and pushed the paper to him.

"LD, you are pregnant?"

Since mother's accident, this is the first time he spoke to me. I could not control my tears any further and they fell like raindrops. I said: "Yes, but its ok, you can leave now." He did not go, in the dark, we sat, facing each other.

Hubby slowly moved over me, his tears wet the blanket. In my heart, everything seem so far away, so far that even if I sprint, I could never reach them.

I cannot remember how many times he repeated "sorry" to me, I had originally thought that I would forgive him, but now I can't. In the western restaurant, in front of that girl, that cold cold look in his eyes, I will never forget, ever. We have drawn such deep deep scars in each other's heart. For me, it's unintentional; for him, totally intentional.

I had been waiting for this moment of reconciliation, but I realized now, what had gone past is gone forever and could not repeated! Other than the thought of the baby inside me that would bring some warmth to my heart, I am totally cold towards him, I no longer eat anything he buys for me, I don't take any presents from him and I stopped talking to him. From the moment I signed on that piece of paper, marriage and love had vanished from my heart.

Sometimes, hubby will try to come into the bedroom, but when he walks in, I will walk out to the living room. He had no choice but to sleep in mother's room. At night, from his room, I can hear light sounds of groaning, I kept quiet. This used to be his trick; last time, whenever I ignore him, he would fake illness and I will surrender and find out what is wrong with him, he would then grab me and laugh. He have forgotten that last time, I cared for him and am concerned because there is love, but now, what is there between us?

Hubby's groaning came on and off continuing all the way till baby was born. Almost everyday, he would buy something for the baby, infant products, children products and books that kids like to read. Bags and bags of it stacked inside his room till it is full. I know he is trying to use this to reach out to me, but I am no longer moved by his actions. He has no choice but to lock himself in his room and I can hear his typing away on his computer keyboard, maybe he is now addicted to web surfing, but none of that matters to me anymore.

It was sometime towards the end of spring in the following year, one late night, I screamed because of a sudden stomach pain, hubby came rushing into the room, its like he did not change and sleep, and had been waiting for this moment. He carried me and ran down the stairs, stopped a car, holding my hand very tightly and kept wiping the sweat off my brow, throughout the journey to the hospital. Once we reached the hospital, he carried me and hurried into the delivery suite. Lying on the back of his skinny but warmth body, a thought crossed my mind: In my lifetime, who else would love me as much as he did?

He held the delivery suite door opened and watch me go in, his warm eyes caused me to managed a smile at him despite my contraction pain.

Coming out of the delivery room, hubby looked at me and our son, his eyes teared with joy and he kept smiling. I reached out and touched his hand.

Hubby looked at me, smiling and then he slowly collapsed onto the floor. I cried out for him in pain... He smiled, but without opening that tired eyes of his... I had thought that I would never shed any tears for him, but the truth is, I have never felt a deeper pain cutting through my body at that moment.

Doctor said that by the time hubby discovered he had liver cancer, it was already in terminal stage and it was a miracle that he managed to last this long. I asked the doctor when did he first discover he had cancer? Doctor said about 5 months ago and consoled me saying: "Prepare for his funeral." I disregarded the nurse's objection and rushed home, I went into his room and checked his computer, and a suffocating pain hits me.

Hubby's cancer was discovered 5 months ago, his groaning was real, and I had thought that...

The computer showed over 200 thousand words he wrote for our son: "Son, just for you, I have persisted, to be able to take a look at you before I fall, is my biggest wish now... I know that in your life, you will have many happiness and maybe some setbacks, if only I can accompany you throughout that journey, how nice would it be. But daddy now no long has thatchance. Daddy has written inside here all the possible difficulties and problems you may encounter during your lifetime, when you meet with these problems, you can refer to daddy's suggestion... Son, after writing these 200 thousand words, I feel as if I have accompanied you through your life journey. To be honest, daddy is very happy. Do love your mother, she has suffered, she is the one who loves you most and also the one who loves me most..."


From play school to primary school, to secondary school, to university, to work and even in dealing with questions of love, everything big and small was written there.

Hubby has also written a letter for me:
"My dear, to marry you is my biggest happiness, forgive me for the pain I have caused you, forgive me for not telling you my illness, because I want to see you be in a joyful mood waiting for the arrival of our baby... My dear, if you cried, it means that you have forgiven me and I would smile, thank you for loving me... These presents, I'm afraid I cannot give them to our son personally, could you help me to give some of them to him every year, the dates on when to give what are all written on the packaging..."

Going back to the hospital, hubby is still in coma. I brought our son over and place him beside him. I said: "Open your eyes and smile, I want our son to remember being in the warmth of your arms..."

He struggled to open his eyes and managed a weak smile. Our son still in his arms was happily waving his tiny hands in the air. I press the button on the camera and the sound of the shutter rang through the air as tears slowly rolled down my face...


The End


Note: This story is originally from www.mykuaci.com

How to motivate yourself:

1. Tell others what you are about to do. That will engage your ego. If you don't take action, you will feel bad because there will be a conflict between what you declared (action) and what you did (lack of action). There will be some stress involved that will help you to motivate yourself to follow through.

2. Analyze your goals. That is the basis of all motivation. If you know what is really important for you, it will be easier to start doing it. When you know you are doing something important for you - the action you take will be a reward itself and almost no motivation from the outside will be needed.

3. Plan to reward yourself for completing the task. It's easy to plan some kind of reward. This will direct your thoughts to the prize instead of keeping you focused on how the task is complicated or hard. Your positive thoughts about the prize can replace the emotions connected with the task - this is one of the most powerful motivational techniques ever known.

4. Visualise completion of the task. This will enable you to use a full power of your subconscious mind to get the job done fast and in the right way.

5. Analyze the negative consequences of not achieving the goal. People don't like to fail and lose so this can also be a source of your motivation. Works great, especially for people that are very focused on others.

6. Analyze the positive consequences of getting the job done. To be aware of all the advantages of completing the task usually means to be motivated to perform it.

7. Give it a chance for just 5 minutes. Then you can stop. Usually it's very hard to start off with the task but after you start - you will keep on going naturally.

8. Start with something simple. If you succeed with something small, it will probably encourage you to try something more complicated, etc.

9. Divide your work to small tasks that you can preform almost mechanically. Then do them anytime during the day when you get some free 5 or 10 minutes that are needed for this particular task.

10. Learn something new about the subject. The task you don't know how to perform is the easiest to be put off. While you are learning about the subject, your motivation will increase as the competence level goes up.

Our news is constantly filled with the reality of death and dying. And each of us, if we live long enough, experiences the loss of persons we loved.

Children ages eight through ten were asked what they thought about death, and these are some of their answers:

"When you die, God takes care of you like your mother did when you were alive - only God doesn't yell at you all the time." (Beth, 9)

"When you die, they bury you in the ground and your soul goes to heaven, but your body can't go to heaven because it's too crowded up there already." (Jimmy, 8)

"Only the good people go to heaven. The other people go where it's hot all the time like in Florida." (Judy, 9)

"Maybe I'll die someday, but I hope I don't die on my birthday because it's no fun to celebrate your birthday if you're dead." (Jon, 9)

"I'm not afraid to die because I'm a Boy Scout." (Kevin, 10)

"Doctors help you so you won't die until you pay their bills." (Stephanie, 9)

I've observed that the loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult things we humans can face. And one of our greatest needs as we experience such a loss is for simple, human comfort. I've known friends of sick and dying people to sit by a bedside or in a hospital room for hours, even days, at a time. I've sometimes heard them offer words of prayer. I've seen food in homes of people who are dying overflow from kitchen to dining room - food brought by comforting friends from church and concerned neighbors. And I've observed friends to just listen for as long as it takes. Caring friends are needed medicine in such times.

When U.S. Congressman Sam Rayburn (1882-1961) discovered that he was ill, he announced to the House of Representatives he was going back home to Bonham, Texas for medical tests. Some wondered why he did not stay in Washington D. C. where there were excellent medical facilities -- probably some of the best in the world. His answer was a beautiful tribute to friendship: "Bonham is a place where people know it when you're sick, and where they care when you die."

No one wants to go through difficult times alone. So Rayburn traded the best of medical technology for the closeness of loving friends. He knew that good friends are good medicine. Sometimes the best medicine there is.

-- Steve Goodier

Oct 8, 2008

Time to Be Quiet

Popular author and speaker Ken Blanchard sometimes tells a powerful story about Red, a corporate president who, as a young man, learned an important and life-changing lesson. Red had just graduated from college and was offered an opportunity to interview for a position with a firm in New York City. As the job involved moving his wife and small child from Texas to New York, he wanted to talk the decision over with someone before accepting it, but his father had died and Red did not feel he had anybody to turn to. On impulse, he telephoned an old friend of the family; someone his father had suggested he turn to if he ever needed good advice.

The friend said he would be happy to give Red advice about the job offer under the condition that the young man takes whatever advice he was given. "You might want to think about that for a couple of days before hearing my suggestion," he was told.

Two days later Red called the man back and said he was ready to listen to his counsel. "Go on to New York City and have the interview," the older man said. "But I want you to go up there in a very special way. I want you to go on a train and I want you to get a private compartment. Don't take anything to write with, anything to listen to or anything to read, and don't talk to anybody except to put in your order for dinner with the porter. When you get to New York call me and I will tell you what to do next."

Red followed the advice precisely. The trip took two days. As he had brought along nothing to do and kept entirely to himself, he quickly became bored. It soon dawned on him what was happening. He was being forced into quiet time. He could do nothing but think and meditate. About three hours outside New York City he broke the rules and asked for a pencil and paper. Until the train stopped, he wrote -- the culmination of all his meditation.

Red called the family friend from the train station. "I know what you wanted," he said. "You wanted me to think. And now I know what to do. I don't need anymore help."

"I didn't think you would, Red," came the reply. "Good luck."

Sorry, I don't know if he took the job or not. But Blanchard reports that, years later, Red headed a corporation in California. And he always made it a policy to take a couple of days to be alone. He went where there was no phone, no television, no distractions and no people. He went to be alone, to meditate and to listen.

The French writer and Nobel Prize winner André Gide reminds us to "be faithful to that which exists within yourself." But how can we be faithful when we don't really know what is inside?

The answer for me is to be quiet. To still my mind...and to listen.
I'll soon know what to do.

-- Steve Goodier

I once talked with a couple about their marriage. They completed personality "testing" and were discussing some differences that had frustrated them both over the years. I summarized some of those differences for them.

"You are sensitive," I said to the husband. He nodded affirmatively. "You try to keep harmony in the relationship. It is important to you that you don't have too much conflict, so you tend to give in often in order to keep the peace." He agreed.

"You like affection and will often reach out and hold your wife's hand for no reason at all." He smiled and nodded.

"And you remember birthdays and special days - these are important to you." He continued to smile and nod.

"And you particularly appreciate it when she says, 'I love you.' In fact, you need her to say that at least once a day."

"EXACTLY!" he exclaimed with a broad smile, looking at his wife.

Then I spoke to her. "And you appreciate his sensitivity, but you tend to be more rational and logical." She smiled and nodded.

"You can be more objective than he can about personal criticism and may sometimes be too blunt with him." They both agreed.

"You like affection, but you don't require it like he does. If you hold hands or not, that is unimportant to you." She continued to nod.

"And you also appreciate the fact that he remembers those special days, but if he were to forget one, that would not upset you. In fact, you have to remember to say, 'I love you' to him, not because you don't love him, but because saying it is just something you don't think about often." She agreed, looking at her husband.

"Saying words like 'I love you' does not mean the same thing to you as it does to him. You know you love him. In fact, you looked into his eyes when you got married and said, 'I love you' and figured that, if you ever change your mind, you'll let him know."

"EXACTLY!" she exclaimed, with a smile.

They told me that the discussion helped them to simply understand one another and to accept themselves. Rather than trying to change the other to get their own needs met, they could more easily appreciate their differences and also appreciate themselves as they are.

They found harmony where there used to be discord.

We don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note. Only notes that are different can harmonize. The same is true with people.

-- Steve Goodier

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